A hymn for Saint Oswald’s Day

The hymn In our day of thanksgiving is often sung on the occasion of a Patronal Festival.

It is also appropriate to be sung “in remembrance of past worshippers”.

The hymn was written by Revd William Henry Draper (1855-1933). He wrote a number of hymns, the best-known being All creatures of our God and King (an English translation of words from St Francis of Assisi). He served as curate and vicar at churches in Shrewsbury among other posts. He married three times; as well as being widowed twice, three of his sons died in WW1.

The tune St Catherine’s Court was composed by Richard Strutt (1848-1927). He was the son of the Second Baron Rayleigh and was educated at Winchester and at Magdalen College, Oxford. He worked for an American bank in London, and joined the London Stock Exchange. He served as Warden and Choirmaster for over three decades at St. John’s Church, Wilton Road, London. His interests were wide ranging: He was a Fellow of the Philharmonic, Horticultural, and Zoological Societies, served on the Council of the Corporation of the Church House, and was involved with the North China and Shantung Mission, the Gregorian Society, and the Church Music Society. This seems to be the only hymn tune of his that has been published.

St Catherine’s Court

IN our day of thanksgiving one psalm let us offer
For the saints who before us have found their reward;
When the shadow of death fell upon them, we sorrowed,
But now we rejoice that they rest in the Lord.

In the morning of life, and at noon, and at even,
He called them away from our worship below;
But not till his love, at the font and the altar,
Had girt them with grace for the way they should go.

These stones that have echoed their praises are holy,
And dear is the ground where their feet have once trod;
Yet here they confessed they were strangers and pilgrims,
And still they were seeking the city of God.

Sing praise then, for all who here sought and here found him,
Whose journey is ended, whose perils are past:
They believed in the Light; and its glory is round them,
Where the clouds of earth’s sorrow are lifted at last.

Oswald was born into the Northumbrian Royal Family in 604, the son of Ethelfrith. When in 616 his uncle Edwin killed the king, the 12-year old Oswald fled to Scotand with his brothers and sister, and at St. Columba’s great Celtic monastery of Iona was converted to Christianity.

After the death of Edwin in 633 Oswald returned to Northumbria and was crowned king. The following year he fought and killed Cadwalla, king of the Welsh in the battle of Heavenfield, near Hexham. Oswald had a vision of Columba the night before the battle, in which he was told “Be strong and act manfully. Behold, I will be with thee. This coming night go out from your camp into battle, for the Lord has granted me that at this time your foes shall be put to flight and Cadwallon your enemy shall be delivered into your hands and you shall return victorious after battle and reign happily.”

Oswald later extended his kingdom southward and westward and invited St. Aidan to come from Iona to spread Christianity in this pagan area.

A monastery was founded in Lindisfarne which became a base for the missionary journeys of King and Bishop throughout the kingdom. Churches were built e.g. the foundation of the later York Minster; mission cells spread the Celtic traditions of St. Columba across northern England. Many villagers were converted, youths educated in monastic centres, the poor shepherds and cowherds gathered to hear the word of God, the sick were healed and the destitute fed and clothed.

Throughout his eight-year rule Oswald established law and order, and fought physically and spiritually to benefit his people In 642 he led his forces against King Penda of Mercia at the battle of Maserfeld* where he was killed and his body dismembered. His followers recovered his head and his brother, Oswy, sent the holy relics to Lindisfarne where it became an object of veneration during the life of St. Cuthbert.

Reginald of Durham recounts a miracle, saying that Oswald’s right arm was taken by a raven to an ash tree, which gave the tree ageless vigour; when the bird dropped the arm onto the ground, a spring emerged from the ground. Both the tree and the spring were, according to Reginald, subsequently associated with healing miracles. The raven is shown in the icon.

Oswald was canonised in 692 and his feast is kept on 5th August. During the Viking raids in 875 the monks fled from Lindisfarne and carried their relics with them, including the body of St. Cuthbert, the head of St. Oswald and the Lindisfarne Gospels through many flights and wanderings over many decades. Eventually, after nearly 200 years the relics were interred in Durham Cathedral.

*The site of the battle of Maserfeld is traditionally identified with Oswestry in Shropshire; arguments have been made for and against the accuracy of this identification.

Family Worship 5 July 2020

Our home-made Family Worship service. Thanks very much to Bev, Toby, Nick & Hannah, Amy & Matthew and the various camera crews across Bollington for helping with our service today 🙂 The opening scene of this video shows a snapshot from Christmas in church!?! We hope it’s not that long before we can gather together in person again for worship! We look forward to re-opening the church building hopefully in the Autumn, after successful completion of our ongoing kitchen development project, but meanwhile stay safe and keep well 🙂 Veronica

The Birth of John the Baptist

Celebrated on 24th June

A hymn for this day that is not heard so often these days:
Hail, Harbinger of Morn.

Originally written in Latin by the Venerable Bede who lived from 673 to 735, this is a Victorian translation with a tune by W H Bell (1873-1946).

The dictionary defines a harbinger as: “A forerunner, a thing which tells of the onset or coming of something”.

Feel free to sing along!

A Hymn for Corpus Christi

The feast of Corpus Christi, also known as The Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of the Holy Communion, falls on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.

A well-loved hymn: Sweet Sacrament Divine.
Words and music by Francis Stansfield (1835-1914). He was a Roman Catholic priest who worked in the Archdiocese of Westminster. He wrote a number of hymns and several tunes to go with them. This is the only one in general use today.

Divine mysteries

SWEET Sacrament divine, hid in thine earthly home,
Lo, round thy lowly shrine, with suppliant hearts we come;
Jesu, to thee our voice we raise
in songs of love and heartfelt praise:
Sweet Sacrament divine, Sweet Sacrament divine.

Sweet Sacrament of peace, dear home for every heart,
Where restless yearnings cease and sorrows all depart;
There in thine ear all trustfully
We tell our tale of misery:
Sweet Sacrament of peace, Sweet Sacrament of peace.

Sweet Sacrament of rest, ark from the ocean’s roar,
Within thy shelter blest soon may we reach the shore;
Save us, for still the tempest raves,
Save, lest we sink beneath the waves:
Sweet Sacrament of rest, Sweet Sacrament of rest.

Sweet Sacrament divine, earth’s light and jubilee,
In thy far depths doth shine the Godhead’s majesty;
Sweet light, so shine on us, we pray
That earthly joys may fade away:
Sweet Sacrament divine, Sweet Sacrament divine.

A Hymn for Trinity Sunday

Father of Heaven, whose love profound

The words were written by Revd. Edward Cooper in 1805.
The hymn is often sung to the well-known tune Rievaulx by Revd. J B Dykes (1823-1876), who wrote over 300 hymn tunes.
This perhaps less familiar tune Song 5 was composed by Orlando Gibbons and was published in Hymns and Songs of the Church in 1623 – the same year that the “first folio” of Shakespeare appeared and exactly 200 years before J B Dykes was born.

Song 5

In the last line of the tune, there are two notes on the second syllable

FATHER of heaven, whose love profound
A ransom for our souls hath found,
Before thy throne we sinners bend:
To us thy pardoning love extend.

Almighty Son, incarnate Word,
Our Prophet, Priest, Redeemer, Lord,
Before thy throne we sinners bend:
To us thy saving grace extend.

Eternal Spirit, by whose breath
The soul is raised from sin and death
Before thy throne we sinners bend:
To us thy quickening power extend.

Thrice Holy! Father, Spirit, Son,
Mysterious Godhead, Three in One,
Before thy throne we sinners bend:
Grace, pardon, life to us extend.

Immortal, invisible…

Another well-known hymn to sing along with.

The words were written by Revd Walter Chalmers Smith, a minister in the Free Church of Scotland. He was born in Aberdeen in 1824, was ordained in 1850 and was sent to minister at the Free Scots Church at Chadwell Street in London until 1854. The rest of his ministry was in Scotland, his last position before retirement being  Moderator of the General Assembly, the highest position in the Free Church. He died near Dunblane in 1908 and was buried in Edinburgh.

Although he wrote other hymns, this is the only one that is still popular today. The Welsh tune St Denio is well known, although the descant in the last verse may be less familiar.

St Denio

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish, but nought changeth Thee.

Great Father of Glory, pure Father of Light
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render, O help us to see:
’Tis only the splendour of light hideth Thee.

A Hymn for Pentecost

At Pentecost we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples like “tongues of fire”.

The ancient hymn Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire is often sung at Pentecost and also for the sacrament of Confirmation.

Although we are not able to sing this in church together for the time being, maybe you would like to sing it at home…

Veni Creatot

COME, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
And lighten with celestial fire;
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
Who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart:

Thy blessed unction from above
Is comfort, life, and fire of love;
Enable with perpetual light
The dullness of our blinded sight:

Anoint and cheer our soiled face
With the abundance of thy grace:
Keep far our foes, give peace at home;
Where thou art guide no ill can come.

Teach us to know the Father, Son,
And thee, of Both, to be but One;
That through the ages all along
This may be our endless song,

Praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

During Lockdown…

(as authorised by Bishop Keith…)
During this time when we are unable to share in Holy Communion in church, you may like to instead take part in…

An Act of Spiritual Communion

Settle yourself into a quiet place. Play some music to settle you then make a gesture (e.g. Sign of the Cross) and allow your attention to silently withdraw from external things and focus into the heart.
You can do this by breathing deeply and slowly into your heart, the centre of your being, or by repeating some reflective verses. For example:

+ O God, come to my aid; O Lord, make haste to help me.

Next, take a moment to think back over the past few days and bring to mind anything for which you want to say sorry to God, and ask for God’s forgiveness:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God; have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then, if you are able, pray the Collect for the Day and read the lesson concluding the Gospel with a time of silence. Then say the Creed and offer your own prayers ending with the Our Father. Now imagine Jesus, Mary or one of the saints coming to you in a gracious and kind manner, holding out to you the Blessed Sacrament. As you see them approach, say:

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word and I shall be healed.

Then, make an Act of Spiritual Communion in these or other words:    

My Jesus,
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.

As you imagine yourself receiving the Bread of Heaven, be still and rest in the love of God. Thank Him for entering beneath the roof of your soul with words such as:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesu, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from you.

From the malicious Enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me
and bid me come to you,
that with your Saints I may praise you,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Let us bless the Lord.
+Thanks be to God

Some material ©www.cchjm.org 01.02.17